SMS conversation 3 weeks ago (pictures below approaching the Finish Line courtesy of Vener):
Jon: Great! Best decision you have ever made in your life ... aside from ... never mind!
Ricky: Yeah. I hope I can make it in one piece.
Jon: You can do it buddy! I have always believed in you (and mumbling a few incoherent words of wisdom on how not to die on the course and be eaten by vultures and crows).
Ricky: Hey, man. I need a favor.
Ricky: Can you pace me for the last 5K?
Jon: Why sure! It'll be my pleasure. I can even pace you on the last 10K!
Ricky: Thanks man.
Uh oh, what did I get myself into? Did I say that? I mean going back on the course after running a full marathon under the scorching heat of the sun is no joke. That would be 42.2k+10=52.2K. But I already said what I said. Promise is a promise and besides, I would never allow a friend of more than 20 years to stagger, faint and god knows what on Skyway. In a nutshell, that started my pacing duties.
So when packing the night before the race, I made sure it included extra food to be eaten after crossing the finish line (3:41) to refuel and rehydrate. I dilly dallied though at the finish line thinking he was still ouuut theeeere. Talked to some friends and fellow ultrarunners and after 20 minutes, I headed out and didn't know where to go. Left or right? Okay, left to Buendia flyover.
Saw a group of runners right at the base of flyover who looked like waiting also for friends who were still ouuut theeere. I was right. After talking to them for 10 minutes or so, I saw my friend's figure from a distance. It was him alright and up close, I muttered - oh s_ _ t! He looked terrible, exhausted and in agony like he just came out of a wrestling competition (the loser of course). He was walking.
Alright first thing is first. I gave him my food - my only food in my short's pocket - Nature Valley bar (a race giveaway). This must be around 8:40AM or barely 1 hour and 20 minutes before the cut-off time of 6 hours or 10AM. Within that time frame, we still had to cover 8k or so. As a pacer, my prime duty was to make sure he got his slow a_ _ across the finish line! Also, I had to make sure he hydrated himself well since it was hot. Upon inquiry, he said his stomach was sloshing - a sign of too much fluid and less salt. He had no food left with him anymore, for pete's sake. Told him to sip 100 Plus sports drink instead of water.
Typical conversation was:
Ricky: Oh s_ _ t! My quads hurt so much!
Jon: We are almost there! (geez, 8k or so to go. I had to distract him).
Ricky: Okay. (No energy left to argue which was good)
Jon: Okay, water station up ahead. I want you to drink sports drink this time. Okay?
At the water station...
Jon: Pour water over your head and your quads!
Jon: Let's go buddy. Time is ticking. We are almost there. You can make it!
Jon: Hey, let me carry the bottle for you.
Ricky: Thanks man.
Jon: Now move!
Ricky: Can we make it?
Jon: Sure but you have to run/jog a little if you want to finish. Just don't walk!
Ricky: Okay man. Hey thank you. I probably would not make it.
Jon: Shut up and move your a_ _ ! (jokingly of course)
So that was pretty much the discussion during the race. We saw a lot of runners and wondered whether they would make it within the cut-off time.
He survived and finished his first 42.2k marathon with official time of 5:52.
Jon: Hey buddy, you are now a marathoner! Almost there.
Ricky: I'll sprint to the finish line. Is that okay!
Jon: By all means buddy.
Jon: Man, I am so happy for you!
Ricky: Thanks man. I would not have made it without you.
Jon: Go and cross the finish line!
Ricky: Damn, there were no more medals! (He looked utterly dejected) and damn, my legs hurt so much!
Jon: Uh oh.
After a few minutes,
Race Official: Sir (to Ricky), you can now get your medal at the Asics Expo.
Jon: Go buddy!
Ricky: (sprawled on the floor) Okay. Help me raise myself.
After a few minutes.
Jon: Wow cool medal!
Jon: Wear it in your office. You deserve it!
Ricky: (smiling) No way man.
After one day and through SMS:
Jon: Hey buddy, how are you? Did you report for work?
Ricky: I am at work and my legs still hurt.
Jon: (sensing a faint smile on his face) That's normal and it will be over soon. Just follow the post-recovery ritual I told you. Again, congratulations!
Ricky: Thanks for pacing me. I probably would not have made it.
Jon: It was okay.
Ricky: Okay. I will see you around during the next marathon. Haha.
Jon: That's the spirit! You will be stronger the next time.
In general, the Condura race was very well organized. Kudos to the organizer! Except for lack of lights on some portion of the Bayani Road (runners could trip) and medals at finish line, the race was outstanding. Water stations were well stocked and strategically placed in such a way that runners need not run farther to hydrate. This is especially important for those racing.
In fine, Condura race is probably the first annual event inching its way to international standards in the likes of races sponsored and organized by Standard Chartered and others.
Cheers and recover well,
Pictures to follow. Hey Don, please tell us how it was wearing a pair of Vibram during the full marathon?